NCS boys basketball: Cardinal Newman rolls to easy win over Cloverdale

By HOWARD SENZELL

FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Cardinal Newman’s boys team came out focused and led all the way while defeating visiting Cloverdale, 69-39, in a Division 4 quarterfinal game Saturday night.

The Cardinals jumped out to a 17-9 lead after one quarter and led by double digits throughout the final three periods.

Cardinal Newman's Justin Botteri shoots over Cloverdale's Jayson McMillan during the game Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015. (Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

Cardinal Newman’s Justin Botteri shoots over Cloverdale’s Jayson McMillan during the game Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015. (Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

“We were ready to play,” coach Tom Bonfigli said. “In the playoffs, a team has to play with a sense of urgency and we had that.”

Playing in front of a standing-room-only crowd, Newman dominated on defense. Cloverdale’s most productive quarter was the fourth, when the Eagles scored 12.

“Our pressure defense bothered them,” Bonfigli said. “They don’t see that kind of defense in their league (NCL I).”

The Cardinals wound up with a dozen steals.

“It was one of our best games of the season and the crowd was unbelievable. It was definitely a playoff atmosphere,” Bonfigli said.

Newman had four players score in double figures: Connor Rubattino (16), Damian Wallace (12), Justin Botteri (10) and James Ryan (10).

Travis Kitowski led Cloverdale with 12 and nailed three shots from 3-point territory. Marcus Poe finished with 10.

The win puts top-seeded Newman in Wednesday’s semifinal round against St. Mary’s of Berkeley.

Newman will bring in a 28-2 record while St. Mary’s is 17-10. No. 4 seed St. Mary’s advanced by defeating Arcata, 66-45.

The Division 4 bracket has gone just about as expected. Three of the first four seeds have made it to the semifinal round.

The only surprise was No. 3 Salesian losing to No. 6 Marin Catholic (57-55) on Saturday.

  • festus

    I wonder if they’ll be playing in the Jr. High division next? What a travesty. Year after year.